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Categories of NCLEX: are we suppos to pass all the categories?


Are we suppose to pass all the categories to pass the whole test?

Yes!!! All the categories in a passing level :)

Is there a percentage or is it by the passing line/graph?

Yes, you have to score above passing in all categories to pass the exam.

Wait, I'm still confused. So we have to stay above the line. But we may not get questions in all categories?

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

You will get questions from all catagories and you have to be at or above the passing line.

But what defines passing?

Where is the line at?

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

The people who make and regulate the NCLEX define what is passing and where the line for passing is, no way to know what it is or which questions are below, at or above that line. Just have to take each question as if it were at or above the line. Don't know what else to tell you.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics. Has 11 years experience.

There is no "magic" number such as get 80% right in each category and you pass. It's much more complex than that...read the article and watch the video. Every category is covered on every exam in some way. But not everyone gets the same number of questions that is why there is a range for each category. Pharmacology isn't just drugs names/doses/calculation but other interventions such as what safety precautions are needed or what contraindications or when to call the doc/hold drug or is this a safe order.

The Kaplan Teacher I had told us that everyone is going to get a 50% on the exam, but you can get 50% of the questions right and be above the passing line. Or, you can get 50% of the questions right and be below the passing line. And she also told us that if you are getting really easy questions, then you are most likely failing. If you are getting application questions like Kaplan, then you are most likely passing. But it depends on how many questions you actually get. It really is an odd grading system!!

That's what my Kaplan instructor said (you will get 50% correct to pass). Don't concentrate on analyzing the questions as they come because you will not know if they are easy or difficult since the exam is always difficult. However there are higher level questions such as the SATA that mean you are doing well. Don't get too confident when you see those and think your passing because the minute I did that I found out later that I failed. So just look at every question and answer each question to the best of your ability, this is your only chance of passing.

Thanks for the advise! I don't think I'll ever be overconfident throughout the test! I just hope for the best. Some people have said that they didn't get many SATAs yet they still passed... So we will see how it goes when I take it! I'm just hoping to pass.

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

The SATA's are not higher level questions. They are just a different format style for the questions. The number of SATA that you get is not determined by your passing/failing level.

I had one on my NCLEX-PN, I passed (I was thankful I only had one, I hate SATA). I have a friend who swore she had no less than 15 SATA (out of 85) and she passed. I also have friends who got a large number of SATA that failed and ones that got one or two and passed.

there's a post somewhere where all the rumors are addressed (SATA means your passing, etc)


Specializes in PD,Nxstage,hemo. Has 14 years experience.

I am still a believer that it you get a ton of SATA questions that it meaning your passing. If your failing why would they give you a lot of higher level questions. I'm not saying that SATA are the only way to tell if your passing bc its not. I had other types of higher level questions that where not SATA too. Passed with 95Q's.


CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

that's just the thing, SATA does not signify a higher level question. SATA by themselves are not considered higher level questions, its the content in the question that decides if its a high or low level quesiton. SATA are just a type of formatting the question. You can have very basic level info in that SATA. Basic level info is basic..just because the quesiton for the basic level is in a SATA format does not then change the basic level into a higher level.

Higher level questions are application and analysis. Math is not a higher level question.

I passed my NCLEX with the min of 85 questions: of those 85, I only had ONE SATA. And as I said in my previous post I do have friends that had quite a lot of SATA that failed. Had friends with 1 or 2 SATA that passed and failed, had friends who said they had a ton of SATA...some passed some did not.

So basically, if I get one pharm question and I get it wrong then I failed the phrarm section and do not pass?